General Discussion Triathlon Talk » Trail running Rss Feed  
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2013-06-05 6:00 PM

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Subject: Trail running

So, I'm a longtime road race kinda gal, but a couple years ago during a Ragnar Relay, I ended up running a portion of the race (about 10k) on some trails. Nothing crazy, a well-groomed dirt trail through the woods, I'm almost hesitant to even call it "trail running." But I totally loved it.

Other speed goals got in the way, so I haven't done any since, but I really want to do a trail race. I have my eye on a half marathon in October, the "Paine to Pain" (great name).

I'll definitely do my research on the course and training for it, but I'll consider this preliminary research:

Anyone here do trail runs?

Do you have any pointers for me in starting trail running?

Do I need to get specific trail shoes or will my Mizunos do the job?

How much trail running should I do during training?

That's all I can think of for now... Thanks for your responses!



2013-06-05 7:14 PM
in reply to: swishyskirt


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Subject: RE: Trail running
I love trail running! Most of my miles are on trails, but I don't really have any advice for you. I wear cheapo sneaks. I hate to carry water and often stash a bottle at a trail intersection that I can hit every so often for water. All of my runs start and end with at least 2.5 miles on trails (from my house) and I do about 85% of my running on trails. I started trail running when I started running because I didn't want anyone to be able to see me. Running on the sidewalk is noisy (cars) and monotonous (I don't have to place my feet with care and how many beautiful houses with the same manicured green lawns can you look at?)

Trail races are much more friendly and far cheaper, in my experience. In my area we have a lot of $5 or $10 races that have basic water stops every 5 or 6 miles, no t-shirts, and prizes tend to be a loaf of banana bread or a plate of homemade cookies. Better than $55 for an uncomfortable t-shirt and silly hunk of metal (or plastic!) on ribbon. It seems that water stops are at the tops of difficult climbs, which kills me. I'd rather they be at the bottom or mid way so I have an excuse to really slow the pace down and grab water!

Trail running is quieter but more interesting. Mating turkeys are funny, hunters dragging out deer are kinda creepy, babies of all types at this time of year. Today I saw about 30 goose families- 2 parents and a bunch of goslings per pair, lots of turtles, a couple snakes, a hawk, a bald eagle, a half dozen turkey and a couple people over the course of 10 miles. I'd much prefer to run in a cool downpour (not cold) than run on a treadmill in a climate control room.

Just start running is probably the only advice I have. Have fun and don't step on a snake nest!
2013-06-05 7:44 PM
in reply to: swishyskirt

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Subject: RE: Trail running
I'd probably spend at least a couple days a week running trails so you provide yourself adequate opportunity to acclimate to the nuances of it. Trail specific shoes really just depends on what types of trails you're running. If it's a pretty packed dirt trail then road shoes are going to be perfectly fine but if it's a lot of loose dirt/sand and/or big, sharp rocks you probably will want to consider something with a bit more traction and sole protection, also if you're in an area that provides the opportunity to run muddy trails. Work on descending, running tight corners and above all else, picking up your feet. Dragging a toe on the trail can end painfully.
2013-06-05 8:20 PM
in reply to: swishyskirt

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Subject: RE: Trail running
Different sorts of trail running...

for example:
-dirt roads ....like fire roads, generally not difficult to run, except for watching out for the rutted areas, maybe slippery gravel.

-single / double track ...more rugged usually, and can have obstacles such as branches, rocks, holes, and such to watch for constantly. slopes are not graded, so can be anything from flat to extreme.

I try to run mid to forefoot on trails as this helps me balance better and avoid the dreaded ankle rollover.
Always watch your foot placement, as it can be tricky at times when negotiating terrain.

I've tried lots of different trail shoes, and have been quite happy with Montrails (various models). Also have liked the Brooks Cascadia, and Sportiva.
But many good ones out there.
2013-06-05 8:31 PM
in reply to: metafizx

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Subject: RE: Trail running
My best advice is run trails similar to what you will be racing on. If it is a single track then practice on those and you will figure out if your road shoes are good or if you need trail shoes.
2013-06-05 10:07 PM
in reply to: navbtcret

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Subject: RE: Trail running
When I first started running on a trail I ran really slowly and had light weight boots on to avoid an ankle rollover. As a previous poster stated on on insidious downhill it's easy to catch a rear foot toe on a rock and take a tumble. I went to a skate boarding shop and bought wrist splints. At least wearing gloves will be helpful if you slip.

It seems that Deer are usually in groups. You'll frighten one and then a whole group starts running. Before you know it you're in the thick of them. Male turkey's will often times not move out of the trail and can be quite aggressive. If a rattlesnake is sunning on a trail on a cool day, they may not want to move. I found that making rustling sounds in the grass will make them move. Pay attention though to where they go so you too don't go that way. As long as you don't taunt them you'll do fine. If you're way down a trail and get injured, help may be a long way away. Water may not be available even if they say it will be. If you start getting overheated you may be far away from a spot to cool down. A girl where I run died about a year ago probably from a heat stroke. Another girl got permanent brain damage.

The extreme uphills on some trails can be pretty tough on your achilles. It's important to relax when you're going up steep inclines. Try not to bounce too much. The work of going up a steep incline can be harder on your heart than you realize. Try to take little baby steps to prevent overwork. If you go down the steep inclines it can be a little hard on your knees.

The view is usually worthwhile.



2013-06-05 10:23 PM
in reply to: swishyskirt


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Subject: RE: Trail running
I've got some good single track near my house and probably do 50% of my outside running on it. Trail running is so much more enjoyable than roads and MUP's. I use my regular road shoes, but my trails aren't heavy duty. I'll also second the don't drag your feet comment. Stubbed toes suck. My balance got a ton better after starting to regularly run the trails. I don't even worry about rolling an ankle anymore.

One thing I would suggest, bring a phone. If your trails are like mine, once your deep enough inside, if something happens, you've got to save yourself. It could be hours before someone comes by. I took a nasty spill once but luckily was able to limp my way home.
2013-06-06 7:47 AM
in reply to: 0

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Subject: RE: Trail running
OH Yea
I love running trail, my favorites are rooty, rockey twisty single tracks, when I stopped running on the road and started on trails I didn't run on the roads again for almost 5 years. You can do most of your training on trails except real speedwork and it won't hurt your road performance one bit in fact it will probably make it stronger, Running trails generally requires a bit higher level of fitness then running roads as well you need to be into it more you need to stay focused or you are going to roll an ankle or hook a root and take a good spill, there is really no just plodding out miles, well maybe on a wide fire road there can be, but for the most part you need to be into the run and on top of the game to run trails well. I actually run a bit faster on trails then on the roads because I get into it more and once into a good rythym just start zinging down the trail.

Definitely give it a try , you may like it on the dark side

Edited by RRH_88 2013-06-06 7:48 AM
2013-06-06 9:32 AM
in reply to: swishyskirt

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Subject: RE: Trail running

Trail running is AWESOME!   Like you, I "stumbled" onto a trail run as part of an early season tri held at a state park and I fell in love with the beauty.  So to answer your first question - yes, I now trail run. 

The trails around my location are very technical so it takes a lot of focus to get through but you're totally engaged in every foot step.  Get familiar with the different types of trails you'll be training and racing on.   Most of the trail races here are fall to early spring, so I trail train in the triathlon "off-season" September through May.     Unlike the poster above, I'm slower on trails here due to sighting and footing.   Your current shoes should be fine to start out, but again, as someone else said, it depends on the trails you're running.   I ended up buying trail specific shoes for better traction and because the colors were cool.     

Sign up for the half marathon.   I guarantee you'll love it! 

 

2013-06-06 10:40 AM
in reply to: swishyskirt

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Subject: RE: Trail running

I'd recommend a trail shoe to protect your feet.  I street run in Mizuno Wave Riders and they always picked up stones and tree branch parts in the sole and lack the side to side stability.   I bought a cheap pair of trail shoes at an outlet mall (forget the brand/make) and they are great on the local FL single track trails.  Nice traction, nothing gets stuck in the sole, sides of my feet don't feel like they're going to bust out the side and more protection across the sole.

We got our dog in Jan and I started trail walking him in the local park at first and slowly added running intervals. First thing I noticed was that all the little stabilizer muscles on the sides of my lower legs took awhile to adapt.  The local trails have a lot of soft "sugar" sand to hard pack with a lot of roots.  If your trails aren't too technical you can probably just swap out several street runs without any issue.   If they're more technical maybe one or two a week at first and build distance/frequency. 

2013-06-06 11:46 AM
in reply to: RRH_88


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Subject: RE: Trail running
Originally posted by RRH_88

  • I actually run a bit faster on trails then on the roads because I get into it more and once into a good rythym just start zinging down the trail.




  • I think that is unusual. Constant Ups, downs, around, over rocks and logs, puddle jumping, wonky foot placement, etc typically make for a slower pace. I can't just let loose and fly down the declines because of sliding rocks, loose dirt, etc. I don't think the slower pace transfers over to when you get back on a steady surface though.


    2013-06-06 11:54 AM
    in reply to: Quigley

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    Subject: RE: Trail running

    Really good article from Running Times: http://www.runnersworld.com/trail-running-training/off-road-ready

    This issue has a ton of stuff about trail running, actually, including info about trail shoes.  Although I wished they had a "if you wear this road shoe then try this trail shoe" kind of thing.

    The kind of trail running I do is VERY tame, so I just wear my road shoes. But I would like to do more and have trail shoe shopping on the brain.

    My biggest problems have to do with ankle stability when I do "real" trails, and contiuously twist them.  You can get a good cheap ankle brace at Walgreens or CVS if that comes up.

    The coolest "off road" race I know about is the Living History Farms in Des Moines in the fall.  It's worth a trip.

    http://www.fitnesssports.com/November_races/LivHistFarms/lhf_index.html

    2013-06-06 11:54 AM
    in reply to: Quigley

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    Subject: RE: Trail running

    I LOVE trail runnning!  When I started to get back into running I got into a group of friends that ran the trails and I met up with them.  For me, the ability to run both roads and trails offers me the opportunity to train my body in different venues.  I do have trail specific shoes that I LOVE.

    I especially love the trails during the fall and winter.  One of our local trail clubs just recently started a couple of new runs called Midnight Mayhem that is run at midnight in local parks!  They are a BLAST!!!

    Enjoy nature and all the things that we can appreciate while out on the trails!

    2013-06-06 11:57 AM
    in reply to: swishyskirt

    Iron Donkey
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    Subject: RE: Trail running
    BT members Jszat (our Sensei) does, and Alaina and Ryan Case do in Colorado (there snapshots of their daily runs are spectacular).
    2013-06-06 11:57 AM
    in reply to: BAMBAM66

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    Subject: RE: Trail running
    I wanted to x3 the advice about lifting your feet.  It's very easy to trip yourself, especially when you get tired.  I'd slid sideways down more trails than I'd like to admit.  I did a race several years in a row that include single and double-track trail and really wiped out.
    2013-06-06 12:40 PM
    in reply to: BikerGrrrl

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    Subject: RE: Trail running

    Originally posted by BikerGrrrl I wanted to x3 the advice about lifting your feet.  It's very easy to trip yourself, especially when you get tired.  I'd slid sideways down more trails than I'd like to admit.  I did a race several years in a row that include single and double-track trail and really wiped out.

     

    When I first started trail running one of the leaders told us that we were there to run, not sightsee so pay attention to where we stepped.  Not say I haven't daydreamed and ended up on my knees, but it is my own fault.



    2013-06-06 12:44 PM
    in reply to: 0

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    Subject: RE: Trail running
    Originally posted by Quigley

    Originally posted by RRH_88

  • I actually run a bit faster on trails then on the roads because I get into it more and once into a good rythym just start zinging down the trail.




  • I think that is unusual. Constant Ups, downs, around, over rocks and logs, puddle jumping, wonky foot placement, etc typically make for a slower pace. I can't just let loose and fly down the declines because of sliding rocks, loose dirt, etc. I don't think the slower pace transfers over to when you get back on a steady surface though.


    Yes it is Most people will run slower on trails on a fairly flat trail class 2,3 I will usually run at my road pace or slightly better I tend to be able to run downhill better thus the speed increase, if the trail is fairly technical a 4,5 then yes I am slower then on the road with out a dought but not by a huge amount usually in the 15 sec per mile area..

    Edited by RRH_88 2013-06-06 12:45 PM
    2013-06-06 1:43 PM
    in reply to: RRH_88

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    Subject: RE: Trail running

    Awesome! This is all great advice, thanks! I live in NYC, so the trail running is somewhat limited in my immediate neighborhood. But there are a couple parks a little further up north, though I don't think they're super technical. I do a lot of hiking in the Bear Mountain area, so I might give it a try there, too...though that will involve a LOT of climbing at some points.

    How does everyone feel their race pace is affected by trail running? A friend of mine said the Paine to Pain might add maybe 10 minutes to my regular half marathon time, which I think means it's not that crazy a trail.

    2013-06-06 10:22 PM
    in reply to: swishyskirt

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    Subject: RE: Trail running
    I love trail running. I've been doing it a fair amount the past 6 months or so, and raced a trail half-marathon in Fruita, CO in April. Unlike what a lot of people here have said, my pace is a _lot_ slower on the trails. Like 30% slower. Or more, or less, depending of course on terrain, but significantly slower most of the time. Do I care? Not particularly. Anyway, one of my limiters is that I am so tentative on any downhill that isn't gradual packed dirt -- loose, sandy, rocky, rooty, muddy all makes me very gently pick my way down. One of the things I want to work on is becoming one of those surefooted mountain goats who dance down this kind of terrain.

    After one fall, I started wearing biking gloves on my trail runs. Based on my extensive investigation (I looked at the other racers in the Fruita race :-), this isn't a very popular option. Still, I'm going to keep doing it.
    2013-06-07 9:18 AM
    in reply to: swishyskirt

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    Subject: RE: Trail running
    Lots of excellent advice on the thread already. Here's my pair of pennies:

    When you're starting out, train by time, not distance.
    You're way slower, but all those accessory muscles that get a free ride on the roads will now have to work for their glucose. You will get more clumsy as you get tired, which means you're increasingly likely to fall as your run goes on. Pay attention and be careful.
    If you're having trouble finding trails, check your local running groups or email the cross country coach at your local high school.
    Hats limit the number of spider webs you eat and can offer protection if you get bonked on the head, but they can also limit your field of vision. Be aware.
    Make sure you have a whistle and/or cell phone. If you fall on a street corner and break your ankle, someone will see you shortly. It may take a lot longer to be found if you fall in the woods. Plus, creepers.
    If you have a smartphone, use an app (like runkeeper) that maps your route as you're running. Runkeeper has saved me from being very lost several times.
    Have a plan for dealing with unleashed dogs.
    You're going to roll an ankle at some point. Have a plan for that too.
    Memorize what your local varieties of poison ivy, oak, and sumac look like. Stinging nettles, too.
    Find out what wild blueberries look like and hope you can get them before the birds.
    Pick up at least one piece of trash on your way out.
    Find out what group maintains the trails you are using and either volunteer or make a donation.
    2013-06-07 12:13 PM
    in reply to: mrheathen

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    Subject: RE: Trail running
    Originally posted by mrheathen

    Lots of excellent advice on the thread already. Here's my pair of pennies:

    When you're starting out, train by time, not distance.
    You're way slower, but all those accessory muscles that get a free ride on the roads will now have to work for their glucose. You will get more clumsy as you get tired, which means you're increasingly likely to fall as your run goes on. Pay attention and be careful.
    If you're having trouble finding trails, check your local running groups or email the cross country coach at your local high school.
    Hats limit the number of spider webs you eat and can offer protection if you get bonked on the head, but they can also limit your field of vision. Be aware.
    Make sure you have a whistle and/or cell phone. If you fall on a street corner and break your ankle, someone will see you shortly. It may take a lot longer to be found if you fall in the woods. Plus, creepers.
    If you have a smartphone, use an app (like runkeeper) that maps your route as you're running. Runkeeper has saved me from being very lost several times.
    Have a plan for dealing with unleashed dogs.
    You're going to roll an ankle at some point. Have a plan for that too.
    Memorize what your local varieties of poison ivy, oak, and sumac look like. Stinging nettles, too.
    Find out what wild blueberries look like and hope you can get them before the birds.
    Pick up at least one piece of trash on your way out.
    Find out what group maintains the trails you are using and either volunteer or make a donation.


    Excellent advice Heathen


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